Iyengar yoga for an active 61 year old male by Mike Martin

October 29, 2017

I'm an active 61-year-old male still trying to act like I'm in my twenties...sound familiar? After my wife Sue and our dog Nikki, my passions are music (the louder the better) and slalom water skiing.

I was introduced to Iyengar yoga the same way many people are; after an injury. Seven years ago I had a pretty serious water ski wipe-out (head first into the water at 40 miles an hour). That accident changed my life because it introduced me to Iyengar Yoga. Both my wife and my doctor talked me into doing Yoga as a way to help the healing process. My wife was already going to KYH so that made the decision where to practice yoga easier. At first I felt out of shape (I couldn't even touch my toes) and a bit like a fish out of water (there was just one other guy in the class). Most of the poses were difficult for me to do and found myself leaving classes a bit frustrated. Thankfully, my teacher Phofi, and my wife, had more confidence in me than I did. Gradually, I gained confidence and the ability to do the poses. Take "do the poses" with a grain of salt. I was doing inversions without panicking, and OMG, I could even touch my toes!

Gradually, as the effects from my injury went away I started noticing benefits; I wasn't that sore after physical workouts or when I water skied; my neck wasn't making cracking sounds when I moved it back and forth, and I was getting fewer tension headaches. I was also waking up in the morning with no aches and pains! I was even starting to look forward to yoga class.

In addition to attending one yoga class a week (Krisina Thursday evening) I have a daily routine that has made a big difference for me; I call it my "shower yoga". While in the shower waiting for the conditioner to sit in my hair, I do several poses to limber up my upper body; Cow Face Gomukhasana arms, Eagle Arms, and Reverse Prayer. I follow that with a standing forward bend Uttanasana. I also do a series of Malasanas while using the squeegee to get the water off the glass bits in the shower.  Once out of the shower and towelled off I do three more poses; Tree Pose Vrksasana; Wide-legged forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) and Trikonasana (Triangle). These poses add very little time to my daily regimen and have positively impacted my flexibility. 

Yoga isn't the only thing I'm doing to stay healthy but long term it may be the most important. My daily physical activity includes walking and/or elliptical, I'm lifting weights in the gym three times a week, and I'm watching what I eat. The sum of everything is that I haven't' felt this good in 20 years. For me, 60 is the new 40!


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